With The Disney/Fox Merger Not Expected To Pass Regulations For 12-18 Months, Here's What To Expect

With The Disney/Fox Merger Not Expected To Pass Regulations For 12-18 Months, Here's What To Expect

While Disney may have reached an agreement with 21st Century Fox to acquire their film and tv assets last Thursday, it's now been revealed that it could be well over a year before the X-Men join the MCU.

Last weekend, Variety confirmed reports that top Democrats on the Senate and House antitrust subcommittees would indeed be holding hearings for The Walt Disney Company's recent proposed acquisition of 21st Century Fox's film and tv studios, cable networks, and regional sports channels. 

A hearing date hasn't been scheduled just yet, but an official announcement is expected to happen sooner rather than later. Also, while no one is entirely sure when the regulatory process will be completed, both companies were already expecting it to last somewhere between 12 to 18 months, which is a similar timeframe to the Time Warner & AT&T merger that has been in the works since October 2016. Experts don't expect Disney/Fox to run into the same complications due to the nature of their deal, but there is growing concern about this being a "monopoly moment" since “If it’s approved, this merger could allow Disney to limit what consumers can watch and increase their cable bills. Disney will gain more than 300 channels, 22 regional sports networks, control over Hulu, and a significant portion of Roku.” Despite this, Disney CEO Robert Iger maintains the merger will actually prove to be extremely beneficial to consumers as the House of Mouse continues to build their new streaming service.

During this 12 to 18 month period, it should be business as usual for both Walt Disney Studios and 20th Century Fox as they continue to work on their respective film and television slates while their lawyers work toward getting the deal finalized. However, for comic book movie fans, this means it may be well over a year before the X-Men, Deadpool, and Fantastic Four actually make their way into the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe. Coincidentally, Avengers 4 opens in just under 18 months (17 months to be exact), so if/when the deal does pass regulations, a Phase 4 introduction for some of Marvel's finest seems more probable than not, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

Remember, it's not a matter of if the deal will get approved - it will - it's about when. Disney currently has no say in Fox's operations and cannot interfere while the deal is under review, so Fox will continue to operate as a full-fledged studio. They will get several movies, including at least two, maybe three, X-Men movies, into production before the end of 2018 and as long as that happens, they'll be released in 2019/2020.

Now, while there's certainly a possibility that the deal will pass regulators long before the end of the 2018 calendar year with little interference, assuming that it does end up taking some time, here's a list of everything we can (probably) still expect to see happen between now and the end of 2019. 

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The New Mutants

We've already received a teaser trailer and poster for this long-gestating spinoff, so unless something completely out of the ordinary happens, then expect to see The New Mutants make their debut in theaters this coming April.

Deadpool 2 (Deadpool: The Second Coming?)

Just like The New Mutants before it, David Leitch's Deadpool 2, which may be titled Deadpool: The Second Coming, is pretty much ready to go and with the marketing campaign already starting to pick up some steam, it'd be a complete shocker if something were to happen to derail this film's release, so get ready for more Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) this June.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

As far as comic book movies go, X-Men: Dark Phoenix had one of the quietest productions we've ever seen, wrapping filming on-schedule over the summer with very little fanfare. Now, while having first-time director Simon Kinberg at the helm may be cause for concern, the early word from the cast and crew has been pretty good with many seemingly preferring his vision and style over X-Men: Apocalypse director Bryan Singer.

We're almost definitely going to see this one in theaters next Fall and unless the rumored sequel does go into production during the first half of 2018, it may ultimately prove to be the final core X-Men film. If the deal does become final before the end of the year, it wouldn't be entirely surprising if this film was altered ever so slightly to make some sort of segue into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, although that's probably a longshot at best.


Legion (Season 2 and beyond)

was the first small-screen collaboration between 20th Century Fox and Marvel Television (Disney) and thanks to Noah Hawley's involvement, it turned into one of the best shows of 2017 as well. The series has already been renewed for a second season, which is currently filming, so expect to see a lot more of Dan Stevens' brilliant portrayal of David Haller next year.

As for Season 3 and beyond, an early renewal isn't out of the question when the show returns in the Spring and with FX Networks and its respective catalog being a big factor in Disney's decision to pursue this deal in the first place, it's more likely than not that they'll want to keep one of the network's most successful shows on the air for years to come. 


The Gifted (Season 2 and beyond)

While it's a little concerning that FOX has yet to extend and/or renew their hit X-Men drama, we should still expect a second season announcement when the freshman season wraps up at the top of next year. The ratings and critical reception have both been pretty solid and should warrant a renewal. Also, considering that The Gifted - just like Legion - is co-produced by Marvel Television, there's probably a good chance that Disney will want to keep the series on-air once they finish their acquisition of FOX TV. 


Whether you want to believe it or not, Gambit is happening and it was just recently confirmed that production will commence in March with a release date set for Valentine's Day 2019. Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean) is directing with Channing Tatum (Logan Lucky) & Lizzy Caplan (The Interview) set to star. Plot details remain under wraps, but it has been described on multiple occasions as a "sexy, heist thriller," which should make it another interesting adult-oriented entry in the X-Men cinematic universe, following Deadpool and Logan.

The future, however, remains murky as the film may ultimately prove to just be a fun one-off that's erased from continuity when the X-Men do join the Marvel Cinematic Universe - unless, of course, Feige has plans to actually merge the two universes rather than reboot. 



With the upcoming arrival of Deadpool 2, fans have never been closer to the long-rumored X-Force movie, but now that the House of Mouse has entered the picture, 20th Century Fox's entire R-rated Marvel movie slate has been thrown into a state of flux. However, despite all that, there's still a decent chance we get to see X-Force go into production sooner rather than later.

Back in October, Josh Brolin (Avengers: Infinity War), who signed a four-picture deal to play Cable, revealed that he expected to begin filming X-Force at some point in 2018, strongly suggesting that it would likely start principal photography around the same time Deadpool 2 hit theaters and also after director Drew Goddard wrapped his upcoming thriller Bad Times at the El Royale, which is slated to begin filming in January. Based on this information, it wouldn't be a stretch to assume that, if the plan is for X-Force to begin production in Summer 2018, it could then occupy the June 7, 2019 date that has already been booked for a Marvel/Fox film.


X-Men: Dark Phoenix - Part 2

This is arguably the biggest wildcard on Fox's upcoming Marvel slate as while it hasn't necessarily been confirmed by anyone at the studio, Psylocke actress Olivia Munn and members of the crew have both inadvertently revealed that they are expected back in Montreal during the first quarter of 2018. Also, it is just a little coincidental that 20th Century Fox has already slated an Untitled X-Men Film for November 22, 2019 - exactly one year after X-Men: Dark Phoenix hits theaters. 

If this film does happen, then it may actually serve as a definitive finale for the X-Men film franchise before their introduction into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, although there are other possibilites on the table as well. One of these possibilities - and I'm just speculating here - is that a potential Dark Phoenix sequel could actually serve as the bridge between the MCU and the X-Men since it will have likely completed filming before the deal passed regulations, but probably won't release till long after the ink was dry. Also, with Logan, Legion, and The Gifted all strongly hinting toward something horrible happening to the X-Men between 1992 and 2017, it wouldn't be too hard for the collective Marvel Studios braintrust to work that into the mutants' inevitable introduction in the MCU as they could have disappeared long before The Avengers came to be. 

Regardless, this film remains a big question mark, but if it does ultimately end up happening, then I'd expect it to be the last core X-Men film produced and distributed solely by 20th Century Fox. This means we'll probably see Wolverine and company join their Marvel brethren in the MCU at some point in 2020, if not sooner.


Multiple Man

A movie centered on James Madrox, a.k.a. Multiple Man, was probably not very high on anyone's wishlist, but with top-level talent like the Academy Award-nominated James Franco (Spider-Man) attached, it could very well be another very interesting addition to 20th Century Fox's R-rated Marvel catalog. 

Last we heard, Wonder Woman screenwriter Allan Heinberg was penning the script, so if he gets his draft turned in relatively soon, there's an outside shot that we could actually see this movie go into production before the end of next year.


Deadpool: The Animated Series

Marvel Television and FX Productions jointly announced this project in May and it's already been confirmed for a 10-episode first season in 2018, so there's a very good chance that fans will definitely see this on their small-screens at some point in the new year.

Plus, it has Golden Globe-winner Donald Glover (Atlanta) onboard as a co-showrunner with his brother, which is more than enough reason to give the show a chance.



After Dafne Keen's incredible performance in Logan, an X-23 solo feature jumped to the top of many wishlists and fans were delighted to learn this past October that director James Mangold had already begun developing a script alongside X-23 creator Craig Kyle. Producer Simon Kinberg even revealed that there were plans to introduce her in future X-Men movies as the obvious successor to Hugh Jackman's iconic Wolverine.

However, now that Jackman is retired and Wolverine is on the verge of being recast for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it's uncertain what will become of this project. Her introduction to the MCU wouldn't have the same impact without Jackman's Wolverine, unless, of course, there's some major retconning and/or Cable-related time travel involved.


New Mutants 2 (& 3)

While we'll definitely see The New Mutants in April, it's a little unclear what will happen to the expected second and third chapters in Josh Boone's planned superhero horror trilogy. 

If the first one is a runaway critical and commercial success, then it wouldn't be a stretch to assume that Marvel Studios would try to incorporate New Mutants 2 & 3 in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but then again, there's no guarantee that will happen.


Kingsman 3

This isn't a Marvel movie, meaning it doesn't have to fit into any larger universe, so there's really no reason why it won't happen. Both director Matthew Vaughn and star Taron Egerton have already expressed interest in doing a trilogy capper and recent reports have even suggested that Vaughn may have already begun planning it. However, if Vaughn lands the Man of Steel 2 job, it's uncertain which project would take priority. 

Also, they still need to find a relatively logical way to resurrect Roxy (Sophie Cookson), a.k.a. Lancelot, so that should be more than enough reason to do a sequel.

As for the rumored Statesman spinoff(s), we may need to pump the brakes on those for now.


Avatar 2 & 3 (and maybe 4 & 5)

James Cameron is currently filming Avatar 2 and is expected to film its three sequels in succession over the course of the next several years, but by the time of release in 2020, 2021, 2024, and 2025, respectively, the films will almost definitely be released under the Disney banner. 

Bob Iger did specifically namedrop the franchise as one he was excited to acquire, so it's probable that they'll continue to let Cameron do his thing, but then again, if audiences don't take to Avatar 2 and 3, there's no guarantee what would happen to the final two chapters.


Doctor Doom

This was arguably one of the most exciting developments to come out of San Diego Comic-Con this year as we learned that Fargo and Legion creator Noah Hawley was working on a Doctor Doom solo feature, which he planned to direct.

Since it is probably in the very early stages of development, this project could unfortunately be one of the casualties when Disney completes the acquisition, although it could also serve as the potential introduction of the Fantastic Four - or, at least, Doctor Doom - to the Marvel Cinematic Universe if Feige were to get creative with his solo features.


Alien: Covenant 2 (Alien: Awakening?)

While there's plenty of reason to believe that this sequel won't happen, especially after Alien: Covenant's disappointing box office, director Ridley Scott has seemed fairly undeterred about a sequel. He even recently came out during the All the Money in the World press tour and pretty much confirmed that he was making another one, but we have yet to hear any further updates, save for the fact that Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, and Danny McBride are expected to reprise their roles.

To add fuel to the fire, our friends over at Omega Underground recently uncovered a Summer 2018 production start date for a film titled Alien: Awakening, but it's unclear whether the studio plans on sticking to that schedule.


Alpha Flight

As far as we know, an Alpha Flight movie is a long ways away and despite a clever Easter Egg spotted in some Deadpool 2 set photos, it's highly unlikely we see this film go into production before the X-Men franchise heads over to Marvel Studios.



Same deal for Exiles. It's increasingly unlikely we see this project see the light of day. Also, with The Gifted essentially introducing Polaris (Emma Dumont), Blink (Jamie Chung), Thunderbird (Blair Redford), and Eclipse (Sean Teale) as their own version of the Exiles, it'd be a shocker if we see the superhero team on the big screen anytime soon unless Feige has plans for several different team-up movies in Phase 4 and beyond.


Fantastic Four (Reboot)

Yeah, it's doubtful 20th Century Fox takes another crack at the Richards family before the acquision is completed, so might as well just start looking ahead to their long-awaited introduction in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Oh and get ready for Silver Surfer, Kang the Conquerer, Galactus, and more to join them!

Deadpool 3

In a surprising reveal, Disney CEO Bob Iger shared that he was very open to keeping Deadpool and his shenanigans R-rated in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so if he stays true to his word, it's very possible that we see Ryan Reynolds continue to reprise his role under the Disney banner for a third installment in his blockbuster franchise.

We'll just have to wait and see though.

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